Blog

Analysis

30 October 2:51 pm

On Wednesday night, FC Dallas clinched their spot in the MLS Western Conference Semifinals with a 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the wild card round match and with that brings a new playoff format.

Those of you who are UEFA Champions League die-hards will know exactly what a "two-legged aggregate" playoff means, but for those of who you follow FC Dallas either casually or fanatically, we're here to explain the ins and outs of the system.

FC DEAL: Through 8AM Friday, score 2 tix for $22 to Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal vs Seattle Sounders FC!

Two games, one winner

Over the next week and a half, FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders FC will play twice, at Toyota Stadium on Sunday, November 2nd at 8:00PM and at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on Monday, November 10th at 9:30PM. The two games will be normal 90-minute MLS matches, but it's the combined score of the two matches that will determine who moves on to the Western Conference Finals. Let's go through a few scenarios:

FC Dallas wins the "first leg" in Frisco 2-0 and loses the "second leg" in Seattle 1-0. FCD would advance to the conference finals because the combined, aggregate score is 2-1 FC Dallas.

FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders FC draw 0-0 in the "first leg" in Frisco and Seattle wins 2-0 in the "second leg." Seattle would advance to the conference finals with a 2-0 aggregate win.

That make sense? Well let's talk about ties.

Away goals

Should FC Dallas and Seattle be tied in aggregate score after the games in Frisco and Seattle, one of two things will happen.

First off, let's talk about "away goals." Again, those of you who watch the UEFA Champions League are familiar with this rule and basically it means if the game is tied after 180 minutes, two games, whoever scored the most goals in the other team's house will advance to the conference finals. Again, let's go through a couple scenarios:

Relive Wednesday's win through your Tweets & Instagrams with our Social Media Recap

FC Dallas wins the "first leg" in Frisco 2-1 and loses the "second leg" in Seattle 1-0. Despite being tied 2-2 on aggregate, Seattle would advance to the conference finals because they have one "away goal" to FCD's zero.

FC Dallas and Seattle draw 1-1 in the "first leg" in Frisco and draw 2-2 in the "second leg" in Seattle. Despite being tied 3-3 on aggregate, FC Dallas would advance to the conference finals because they will have two "away goals" to Seattle's one.

Extra time and shootout

If the teams are tied after both games and also tied on away goals, the match will go to 30 minutes of extra time and if it is still tied, we will go to penalty kicks. You saw both of those scenarios in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup semifinal against Philadelphia Union earlier this year. Away goals is not in effect once you get to overtime. Basically, if both games finish with the same score, we're going to overtime.

FULL 2014 MLS CUP PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Again, let's go through scenarios:

FC Dallas wins the "first leg" in Frisco 2-1 and Seattle wins the "second leg" in Seattle 2-1. The teams would go to 30 minutes of extra time after the second game in Seattle as the teams are tied on score and away goals. If neither team scores in overtime, it goes to penalty kicks.

FC Dallas wins the "first leg" in Frisco 3-1 and loses the "second leg" in Seattle 2-0. The Sounders would advance despite being tied 3-3 on aggregate as they lead 1-0 on away goals.

Does that all make sense? Score more goals than the other team over two games, you win. Score the same amount of goals and more goals in the other team's house, you win.

 

27 October 11:19 am

FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps FC have played three hard-fought games in 2014 and they’re going to go at it one more time on Wednesday night in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoff curtain-raiser, a do-or-die wild card round matchup. Let’s take a look back at the three matches they’ve played this season:

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, FC Dallas 2 – Sunday, July 27th BC Place

Raul in Vancouver

Goals from Michel and Blas Perez saw FC Dallas take a 2-1 lead into the halftime break, but a controversial second half PK from Pedro Morales earned a point for the Whitecaps.

This match will be remembered, however, for some heroics from goalkeeper Raul “Superman” Fernandez. The Peruvian made seven acrobatic saves denying Morales who had an incredible 12 shots on goal.

FC Dallas 2, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1 – Saturday, September 13th Toyota Stadium

FCD 2, VAN 1

Oscar Pareja’s side extended the Whitecaps hoodoo in Frisco as two goals from Blas Perez sent Vancouver’s all-time record at Toyota Stadium to 0-5-0 with a 2-1 win for FCD.

Perez’s first goal was a spectacular, if perhaps accidental, effort from nearly the corner flag. His cross/shot looped over the head of goalkeeper David Ousted and straight into the goal sending the Budweiser Beer Garden into raptures.

Perez won it late for FC Dallas, hammering home a rebound in the 78th minute to earn all three points for FC Dallas, a huge home win that proved vital later in the season.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, FC Dallas 0 – Saturday, October 4th BC Place

VAN 2, FCD 0

The Whitecaps earned their second-ever win over FC Dallas with a comprehensive 2-0 home win earlier this month. A five-minute double from Sebastian Fernandez in the first half was all the offense Vancouver needed as the Whitecaps were able to sit on the 2-0 lead for pretty much the entire match.

Despite having 24 crosses to Vancouver’s 5 and earning more shots, corners and possession, FCD was unable to seriously test Ousted in goal in this match.

A hard-fought match that saw 31 fouls committed, coaches from both sides were seen getting into a bit of a tiff at the final whistle adding a little extra spice to what should be an incredible match on Wednesday night at Toyota Stadium.

24 October 4:09 pm

Here's your Keys to the Match pres. by Toyota for Saturday's regular season finale vs Portland:

20 October 2:53 pm

Saturday's win at Colorado coupled with Real Salt Lake's draw at Portland has made the playoff picture pretty clear for FC Dallas with one week left to go in the season. Let's talk about it:

FC Dallas will finish third in the Western Conference if:

-Real Salt Lake loses or draws against Chivas USA on Wednesday night

OR

-FC Dallas defeats Portland Timbers FC on Saturday night

_______________________________________________________

If FC Dallas finishes third, our Western Conference semifinal playoff schedule will be:

WC Semifinal 1st leg - LA Galaxy/Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas - Saturday, November 1 or Sunday, November 2 Toyota Stadium

WC Semifinal 2nd leg - FC Dallas at LA Galaxy - 8:00PM - Sunday, November 9 StubHub Center

OR

2nd leg - FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC - 9:30PM Monday, November 10 CenturyLink Field

_______________________________________________________

FC Dallas will finish fourth in the Western Conference if:

-Real Salt Lake defeats Chivas USA on Wednesday night

AND

-FC Dallas draws or loses to Portland Timbers FC on Saturday night

_______________________________________________________

If FC Dallas finishes fourth, our Western Conference playoff schedule will be:

Wild Card Round - Vancouver Whitecaps/Portland Timbers at FC Dallas - 7:30PM Wednesday, October 29 Toyota Stadium

_______________________________________________________

If FCD wins the Wild Card Round, our WC Semifinal schedule would be:

WC Semifinal 1st leg - LA Galaxy/Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas - Saturday, November 1 or Sunday, November 2nd

WC Semifinal 2nd leg - FC Dallas at LA Galaxy - 8:00PM - Sunday, November 9 Toyota Stadium

OR

WC Semifinal 2nd leg - FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC - 9:30PM Monday, November 10 CenturyLink Field

_______________________________________________________

PLAYOFF FORMAT

For those not familiar with the MLS Cup playoff format, the top five teams in each conference make the playoffs.

Fourth place hosts fifth place in a one-game wild card playoff with the winner playing the top seed in a two-leg semifinal while second will play third also in a two-leg playoff. The two-leg playoff rounds will feature home games at both stadiums and whoever has the highest combined score will advance. The lower seed will host the first game while the higher seed will host the second match.

The winners of the semifinals will play each other in a two-leg conference final and the winners of the conference finals will play in the one-game MLS Cup played at the home of the remaining team with the most points earned in the regular season.

TICKETS - FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers - Saturday, October 25 7:30PM

 

17 October 3:21 pm

Just two weekends remain in the MLS regular season. Can you believe it? FC Dallas clinched the playoffs with last week's heart-stopping win over Los Angeles and now they turn their sights to earning the #3 seed which would ensure not having to play in the 4th vs 5th wild card game. Here's the playoff breakdown:

1. Seattle Sounders FC

60 points(+13 GD) - 2 games remaining - Last match: 1-0 loss vs Vancouver - Next match: 10/19 at Los Angeles - Last 5: L-W-W-L-L

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

The Sounders surprisingly fell to Vancouver at home, a result that puts their Supporters Shield aspirations very much in doubt. They end the season with back-to-back games against LA and will clinch the Shield with a win in either match.

2. LA Galaxy

60 points(+34 GD) - 2 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 loss at FC Dallas - Next match: 10/19 vs Seattle - Last 5: L-W-W-W-D

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

The Galaxy lost their first game of the season after scoring first in a 2-1 loss at FCD on Sunday. It was really a missed opportunity with Seattle having lost earlier in the weekend. They'll host the Sounders on Sunday and need four points from their two games against Seattle to clinch the Shield.

3. Real Salt Lake

52 points(+13 GD) - 2 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 win vs San Jose - Next match: 10/17 at Portland - Last 5: W-L-L-W-L

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

Jeff Cassar's side stopped a slide with a much-needed win against San Jose at home on Saturday. They've got a tricky test at Portland on Friday night and need a win to keep off hard-charging FCD and stay in control of their own destiny in the race for the third seed.

4. FC Dallas

51 points(+11 GD) - 2 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 win vs LA Galaxy - Next match: 10/18 at Colorado - Last 5: W-L-W-L-W

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

FC Dallas got a huge win against Los Angeles that took a ton of pressure off Oscar Pareja's side. They need one point to clinch a home playoff game and could leapfrog RSL for the third spot, though they'll need to ensure three points against a Colorado team that hasn't won since July. **NOTE** The first tiebreaker is wins and FC Dallas currently has one more than RSL with 15, so a tie in the standings would see FCD jump RSL.

5. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

46 points(+1 GD) - 2 games remaining - Last match: 1-0 win at Seattle - Next match: 10/18 at San Jose - Last 5: W-W-W-L-L

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 70%

The Whitecaps scored another hugely impressive result winning at Seattle last weekend to stay above Portland for the final playoff spot. The Whitecaps have their toughest test left on Saturday with a tricky trip to San Jose. Two wins from their final two will ensure a playoff spot for Carl Robinson's side.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Portland Timbers FC

45 points(+4 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 3-0 win vs San Jose - Next match: 10/17 vs Real Salt Lake - Last 5: W-W-L-W-D

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 30%

Caleb Porter's men easily dispatched San Jose 3-0 to keep pace with Vancouver for the final playoff spot. They have a tough test against RSL on Friday before finishing the season at FC Dallas. Things look pretty difficult for the Timbers when you compare schedules between the two sides but Porter's side has shown amazing resiliency.

FCD PLAYOFF SCENARIOS:

FC Dallas will clinch a home playoff game if:

-Vancouver fails to defeat San Jose

-FC Dallas wins or draws at Colorado

IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY:

If there were no games left and we were looking forward to the start of the playoffs, here are the current matchups:

WILD CARD GAME

Vancouver Whitecaps FC at FC Dallas

WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

Seattle Sounders FC vs FC Dallas/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake

10 October 4:26 pm

Here's your Keys to the Match pres. by Toyota with Scott & Daniel breaking down Sunday's game:

08 October 10:32 am

What a wild and wacky weekend it was in Major League Soccer as RSL fell at Chivas USA while LA and Seattle rolled on. Here's a look at the playoff picture with just three weeks left:

1. Seattle Sounders FC

60 points(+14 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 4-1 win at Colorado - Next match: 1/10 vs Vancouver - Last 5: W-W-L-L-W

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

The Sounders won their second straight, throttling a hapless Colorado Rapids team that hasn't won in quite a long time. Seattle ends the season with three toughies, starting with Vancouver this weekend and two games against Los Angeles.

2. LA Galaxy

60 points(+35 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 3-0 win vs Toronto FC - Next match: 10/12 at FC Dallas - Last 5: W-W-W-D-D

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

Los Angeles rolled along again last weekend beating Toronto FC handily at the StubHub Center. There's no doubt the Galaxy are incredibly formidable at home, but they'll have two tough road tests to end the year with FCD and Seattle. They'll play this weekend at FCD without at least Robbie Keane and Marcelo Sarvas while Omar Gonzalez is also a question mark.

3. Real Salt Lake

49 points(+11 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 1-0 loss at Chivas USA - Next match: 10/11 vs San Jose - Last 5: L-L-W-L-W

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

Is it time to panic in Sandy, Utah? A shock 1-0 loss at Chivas USA has Jeff Cassar's side on a bit of a dip. A win against Chivas would've propeled RSL into an almost insurmountable lead for the 3rd place spot, but now things are wide open especially considering RSL will be missing five players on international duty this week.

4. FC Dallas

48 points(+10 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps - Next match: 10/12 vs Los Angeles - Last 5: L-W-L-W-L

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 99.5%

It wasn't a good weekend for Dallas who not only lost by a two-goal margin for just the second time this season, but saw Portland come back to win in San Jose nixing any playoff clinching hopes. However, the last three games are all manageable for Dallas with two home games and a road game at Colorado. Three wins could see Dallas jump into third place. They'll clinch with a Portland loss on Wednesday or a win on Sunday against Los Angeles.

5. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

43 points(+0 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 win vs FCD - Next match: 10/10 at Seattle - Last 5: W-W-L-L-W

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 53.5%

Another HUGE home win for Vancouver against FCD to keep pace for the fifth and final playoff spot, but the Whitecaps aren't even remotely out of the woods. Two road games out of three remaining for Vancouver who has been poor on the road this season. Still, they're in with a shot.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Portland Timbers FC

42 points(+4 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 win at San Jose - Next match: 10/8 vs San Jose - Last 5: W-L-W-D-D

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 47.0%

A gift from the heavens brought Portland back from the brink of elimination, coming from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at San Jose. They'll face the Quakes again tonight and desperately need to put their home woes behind themselves with a win as their last two matches are against RSL and FCD.

FCD PLAYOFF SCENARIOS:

FC Dallas will clinch a 2014 MLS Cup Playoff Spot if:

-Portland loses to San Jose on Wednesday

-FC Dallas defeats LA Galaxy on Sunday

-Portland ties San Jose on Wednesday & FC Dallas ties or defeats LA Galaxy on Sunday

FC Dallas will clinch at least fourth place and a home playoff game if:

Vancouver loses or draws at Seattle on Friday and FC Dallas wins or draws against LA Galaxy

IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY:

If there were no games left and we were looking forward to the start of the playoffs, here are the current matchups:

WILD CARD GAME

Vancouver Whitecaps FC at FC Dallas

WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

Seattle Sounders FC vs FC Dallas/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake

03 October 11:24 am

Here are your Toyota Keys to the Match for Saturday's big game in Vancouver:

03 October 11:09 am

The MLS season is a marathon, but we've reached the sprint. Just four games are left in the 2014 regular season and things are beginning to define themselves in the Western Conference. Let's take a look at the playoff race with a month to play.

1. Seattle Sounders FC

57 points(+11 GD) - 4 games remaining - Last match: 4-2 win vs Chivas USA - Next match: 9/5 at Colorado - Last 5: W-L-L-W-W

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

After falling to FCD, the Sounders received a scare against Chivas USA, but ended up getting the home win to stay at the top of the league on goal differential. They face a tricky trip to Colorado this weekend and, should they not win, could relinquish the top spot for the rest of the season.

2. LA Galaxy

57 points(+32 GD) - 4 games remaining - Last match: 4-0 win vs New York - Next match: 10/4 vs Toronto FC - Last 5: W-W-D-D-W

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

The Galaxy have a relatively straight-forward match at home against Toronto FC this weekend, but their challenges await. A final three matches at FCD, vs Seattle and at Seattle will test whether LA is truly the class of the league like many think they are.

3. Real Salt Lake

49 points(+12 GD) - 4 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 loss at Vancouver - Next match: 10/5 at Chivas USA - Last 5: L-W-L-W-D

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

It's been very up and down for RSL over the last month with two wins, two losses and a draw. They've won against the teams they should and lost their tough games, but it makes you wonder if they can win the road games they'll need to that would earn passage in a playoff series. Two games against Chivas USA in their last four, however, will provide some valuable points.

4. FC Dallas

48 points(+12 GD) - 4 games remaining - Last match: 3-1 win vs Seattle Sounders FC - Next match: 10/4 at Vancouver - Last 5: W-L-W-L-L

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 99.9%

A win over Seattle allayed any fears that FCD won't finish top four in the Western Conference and there is still a chance to finish top three but FCD likely needs 10 points from their last four games which is certainly possible. A playoff spot and at least fourth place can be guaranteed with a win this weekend.

5. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

40 points(-2 GD) - 4 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 win vs RSL - Next match: 10/4 vs FC Dallas - Last 5: W-L-L-W-D

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 53.6%

Vancouver leads Portland by the slimmest of margins and every game is absolutely vital for them from here on out. They really need three points against Dallas to keep realistic playoff hopes alive as they've got two tough road games at Seattle and San Jose awaiting them after this weekend before returning home to close the season against Colorado.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Portland Timbers FC

39 points(+3 GD) - 4 games remaining - Last match: 3-2 loss at TFC - Next match: 9/4 at San Jose - Last 5: L-W-D-D-W

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 45.5%

Ouch. Up 2-0 at Toronto, the Timbers let all the points slip away and lost Will Johnson for the season with a broken leg. If they fail to make the playoffs, it's that result, along with the home draw against San Jose that they'll look back and regret. Still, the Timbers have two games next back-to-back against San Jose that they need to get six points from before closing the season against RSL and FCD. If they can get to 45 points, there's certainly a good chance of the fifth spot.

IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY:

If there were no games left and we were looking forward to the start of the playoffs, here are the current matchups:

WILD CARD GAME

Vancouver Whitecaps FC at FC Dallas

WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

Seattle Sounders FC vs FC Dallas/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake

 

24 September 12:02 pm

We're down to just five games left in the 2014 MLS Regular Season and we've got a much clearer playoff picture in the Western Conference. Let's take a look!

 

1. Seattle Sounders FC

54 points(+11 GD) - 6 games remaining - Last match: 4-1 loss at New York - Next match: 9/24 at FC Dallas  - Last 5: L-W-W-W-W

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

After their USOC triumph, the Sounders played a weakened side at New York and got thumped 4-1. They'll have one more road match on their long road trip at FCD tonight before hosting Chivas USA on the weekend. Tied with LA, but with a game in hand, this match in Dallas could go a long way to determining their Supporter's Shield fate.

2. LA Galaxy

54 points(+27 GD) - 5 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 win vs FC Dallas - Next match: 9/28 vs New York - Last 5: W-D-D-W-W

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

Bounced back with a late winner over FCD last weekend to pull even with Seattle at the top of the standings. A tricky home game against New York awaits them this weekend with just five games left. Two games at the end of the season against Seattle will be huge.

3. Real Salt Lake

49 points(+13 GD) - 5 games remaining - Last match: 5-1 win vs Colorado - Next match: 9/27 at Vancouver - Last 5: W-L-W-D-L

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 100%

Thoroughly dominated Colorado last weekend to put a little daylight between themselves at FCD for that third playoff spot. They may still seem out of the Supporter's Shield race, but three of their last five are against Chivas USA & San Jose so don't rule out a late push from RSL.

4. FC Dallas

45 points(+10 GD) - 5 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 loss at Los Angeles - Next match: 9/24 vs Seattle - Last 5: L-W-L-L-W-W

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 99.5%

A late loss at Los Angeles with a makeshift back four is nothing to get too concerned about and FC Dallas can all but seal their playoff spot with a win against Seattle on Wednesday night. The ten days off after the Sounders game should prove vital for FCD to get rested and healthy before a final four regular season games against Vancouver, LA, Colorado & Portland. FCD likely needs four wins from their last five to earn a top 3 playoff spot.

5. Portland Timbers FC

39 points(+4 GD) - 5 games remaining - Last match: 3-0 win vs Vancouver - Next match: 9/27 at Toronto - Last 5: W-D-D-W-L

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 70.0%%

The Timbers had to beat Vancouver on Saturday to keep their realistic playoff hopes alive, and that's exactly what they did. Their final five games are still very tough with three road games at Toronto, San Jose and Dallas with home games against San Jose and RSL, but if they can get seven points out of those they'll have a great shot at sneaking in and potentially setting up back to back games against FCD.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

37 points(-3 GD) - 5 games remaining - Last match: 3-0 loss at Portland - Next match: 9/27 vs Vancouver - Last 5: L-L-W-D-L

Playoff chances according to Sports Club Stats: 28.1%

It's a really tough look to lose two games to Portland by a combined 6-0 score in the last month. The Whitecaps are certainly in the race and have the slightly easier schedule in the last five, but man that game on Saturday doesn't leave you with a lot of confidence in Carl Robinson's side.